Today I’m sharing a simple, delicious, and refreshing recipe for Italian Herb Lemonade
– easily turned into a summer cocktail with the addition of some spirits.
About half an hour drive from our house is the most divine little Italian restaurant that exists this far west of Italy. The ambiance is amazing, the food is literally out of this world delicious, and they make the most incredible Italian herb lemonade that you can ever imagine quenching your thirst with.
We’ve been lucky enough to attend a couple of beautiful weddings at this charming restaurant venue, and between the ceremony and reception they serve the guests glasses of their famous Italian herb lemonade… with the addition of gin, white rum, or vodka for those who wish to give it an extra little kick.
Honestly, words can’t describe this stuff. And I decided that this was the year I’d give it a go and see if I could replicate this fabulous bevy to serve our lucky summer guests and visitors.
I think I’ve gotten pretty darn close…
Today is another instalment of the Seasonal Simplicity Summer Series! I’ve got some fantastic friends who are also sharing their summer recipes; check them all out at the bottom of this post!
I tried to recreate this lemonade recipe two different ways to see which one was better… the old fashioned squeeze real lesson and mix with simple syrup kind of way, and the infuse the herbs into already made lemonade easy-lazy way.
To make real old fashioned lemonade with an Italian Herb Lemonade twist, I followed this recipe for the lemonade and herbed simple syrup…
Italian Herb Lemonade
A refreshing and lightly sweet lemonade infused with the flavours of Italian herbs, also delicious as part of a summer cocktail recipe.
- 6 lemons
- 5 cups water
Italian Herb Simple Syrup
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh rosemary
Squeeze the juice out of approximately six lemons and strain the excess pulp as well as seeds. Mix with 5 cups of cold water.
Herb Simple Syrup
Dissolve one cup of sugar in two cups of water while heating over medium heat, stirring frequently. Take the simple syrup off the heat and set aside.
Coarsely chop the mint, basil, and rosemary. Use a muddler to pound them and release the juices from the leaves.
After the simple syrup has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the herbs and let sit for 2 or more hours, even as long as overnight depending on how strongly herb flavoured you would like the finished lemonade to be. Test occasionally to see how the flavour of the herbs is coming.
Once the simple syrup has enough her flavour, strain off the herbs and mix 1/2 the simple syrup mixture into the lemon/water mixture. Stir and test for sweetness and flavour, adding more to taste.
It was delicious! And refreshing!
But, honestly, I wondered to myself… does it have to be so difficult? It was a fair bit of work and pretty messy, squeezing all those lemons, just to yield one pitcher of fresh lemonade. So I got to wondering… could I make this whole thing easier? Like, a lazy-summer-day version?
I picked up some good quality pre-made lemonade (not from concentrate), and I poured out about a small glass worth (a cup or so).
Then I, once again, coarsely chopped the same herbs as in the original recipe…
I muddled them to release the juices from the leaves (my little guy did this job for me)…
And then I stuffed them all into the original jug with the lemonade. I shook it around a bit and let it steep for about 24 hours in the fridge.
Not a huge difference! The original is still the original, but if you’ve got a group coming over and need to simplify things, I think the second method is an awesome stand-in. I’ll definitely do it again.
Because the point of making delicious summer drinks and cocktails isn’t to be so worn out from prepping them that you literally need to take a break with a drink, right?? And original lemonade aficionados may shun me, but I think we have better things to do then spend our precious summer days squeezing lemon after lemon.
I’ve got more in store for you today! Some of my talented friends have joined me for the Seasonal Simplicity Tour series… we’re each sharing a favourite summer recipe!
Check out what they have in store…
Lavender Blackberry Sparkling Lemonade at Satori Design for Living // Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes at Nina Hendrick Design Co. // Luscious Lemon Curd Parfaits at Summer Adams // Strawberry Jello Poke Cake at A Pretty Life
Want to remember this? Just pin it for later!